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Invention and innovation: An introduction

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This free course, Invention and innovation: An introduction, is for designers, engineers, technologists and anyone interested in designing and inventing. It is also for managers and consumers interested in innovation and technical change. The course will show you how design and innovation can create a more sustainable future. It will also help you understand how innovation comes about and will encourage thinking about environmental and social challenges for the future.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • explain invention, design, innovation and diffusion as ongoing processes with a range of factors affecting success at each stage
  • explain how particular products you use have a history of invention and improvement, and appreciate the role that you and your family, as consumers, have played in this history
  • define key concepts such as invention, design, innovation, diffusion, product champion, entrepreneur, sustaining and disruptive innovation
  • explain the role of intellectual property in invention and innovation and list the various ways that inventors can protect their ideas
  • identify the range of reasons that motivate individuals and organisations to invent.

By: The Open University

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Invention and innovation: an introduction

Introduction

Unit image

This unit aims to provide an understanding of invention, design, innovation and diffusion as ongoing processes with a range of factors affecting success at each stage. You will gain an understanding of the factors that motivate individuals and organisations to invent, and the creative process by which individuals come up with ideas for new inventions and designs, and you will gain an understanding of the obstacles that have to be overcome to bring an invention to market and the factors that influence the successful diffusion of an innovation into widespread use.

In Part 1 I invite you to look around at the technological products in your home or at work and consider their development history and their impact on the lives of you and your family. I then define the key concepts associated with the process of invention, design, innovation and diffusion.

Part 2 considers what motivates individuals and organisations to invent in the first place and how individuals come up with ideas for new designs and inventions.

Part 3 examines how technical, financial and organisational obstacles have to be overcome in order to bring an invention to the market. Once on the market a number of factors influence how well an innovation will sell.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 3 study in Design [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

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